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On W. Sahara, 2 No Votes, 3 Abstentions, So France Can Lobby Next SG

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- When the UN Security Council voted on a draft resolution on Western Sahara on April 29, there were two no votes - Venezuela and Uruguay - and three abstentions: Angola, Russia and New Zealand.

  Criticized outside the Council was France's (and Spain's) role, seeking to delay even reporting on MINURSO for 90 days -- so as to impact the selection of Next Secretary General, some say.

  After Morocco threatened and threw out the civilian component of the UN's MINURSO mission, Inner City Press obtained the UN's Western Sahara report as it had been approved by Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson on April 18, and exclusively in full text published it on Scribd here. This came days after the UN of Ban Ki-moon and Cristina Gallach, Spain's highest UN official, threw its journalistic files out onto First Avenue. Video here and here (Periscope).

   Inner City Press obtained from diplomatic sources an updated "Group of Friends" draft resolution, below, and reported that those expressing opposition include Angola, Uruguay and Venezuela, and to some degree, it seems, New Zealand.

On the evening of April 28, the still-moving Western Sahara draft was put on the UN Security Council's schedule for a 10 am vote. Inner City Press called this a negotiating tactic, and it was - on the morning of April 29, the vote was pushed back to 11 am.

  Inner City Press arrived at the Security Council and, under the lesser UN pass to which Spain's Gallach reduced it, was unable to access the Council stakeout, even though diplomats were seen entering.

   Inner City Press spoke with diplomats and sources in the hall by the escalators -- thank you, Cristina Gallach and Ban -- and has learned both of a back-channel offer to return a portion of those expelled from MINURSO, and of a reason for the French - Moroccan insistence on a delay of 90 days for the Security Council to hear if Morocco is still blocking.

   Consider the timing of the selection of the next Secretary General, and of the ability of Security Council members particularly veto-wielding France to demand of candidates their position, or concessions, on this Western Sahara colonialism issue. We'll have more on this.


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